Camera roll catch-up: Jess gets her dander up

When I see that a mark like THRŌ is registered:

for goods that include, you know, throws – I get all kinds of irritated. The owner has to disclaim the term “throw”  apart from the mark as shown – so what do they get? The ability to use the word with the diacritical mark? Against whom could you possibly enforce the registration? WHY BOTHER SPENDING THE MONEY? FFS, the mark is THRŌ for a throw, it’s right there on the hangtag?

Herein my rant for the day.

Camera roll catch-up; slogan edition

I’m pretty much worn out with all the CRAVE marks and variants out there, and their underlying suggestion that we’re all desperately trying to maintain healthful diets but are nonetheless captive to insatiable cravings that possess us and impel us to reach for something naughty.

But for dog’s sake, if you’re going to go the crave route, could you at least get the informal gerund correct?

CRAVE’N? Not “cravin'”? I despair.

Illiteracy in America

How on earth are we to expect kids these days to spell right when we create brand names with pointless misspellings?

There’s no reason I can think of to spell “divine” the way Valspar – now Sherwin-Williams does here; the term would be equally registrable and protectable as a (laudatory but not descriptive) trademark if spelled correctly. You lose at least two points here, says the spelling bee veteran.

But you get suspended for this one:

I blame Scrubs for making Elliot happen as a girl’s name (though I love the show, don’t get me wrong). But I blame dingbat parents – and here, toy companies – for distorting the name’s spelling, presumably to girlify it.  I’ve tried to wish it away as Ellie T – but no, that’s unjustified.

If you can’t read it, you can’t afford it

Because I am a sucker for insight into lifestyles of the rich and famous, and the schadenfreude that reading about that brings, I just took advantage of a $2 subscription to Town & Country magazine. Dazzled, I tell you, I was dazzled by all of the jewels shown “price upon request” and the name-dropping of royals throughout.

I was less dazzled, I must confess, at the egregious misspelling of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris as “Bologne.” That’s a firing offense for any publication (in my exacting view of the world), but particularly in one where all things Paris are considered the ne plus ultra.

Also concerning – though more on an annoyance level – was the script used to promote this perfume from Sisley:

Well? You tell me what that first letter is. Oh, I see, it’s in the hashtag. But wait, is that an i or a lowercase L? And then I just decided,  having seen Sisley products in French department stores, that in the immortal words of my mother, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it. (And perhaps recognizing the impenetrability of this script, Sisley added a more legible font to its promotion of this perfume on its website.)

Destination: Seattle

Lax blogging. Trying to get back in the saddle again. So:

A much-belated update on the family job front. My dear husband is now a partner of Seed IP Law Group, in Seattle. BUT WE DIDN’T MOVE THERE! How is that possible, you ask? Technology, my friends. Marc is connected to the office and spends a week there a month, but works 75% of the time out of our home office. He’s loving it and we’re loving reconnecting with friends and family and former colleagues in the city where we spent over 15 years of our lives together.

Why am I boring you with this? Because trademarks and stuff, of course! Pop culture!

Pop culture first, of course. Food shopping at New Seasons, the gourmet supermarket on Mercer Island that had the nerve to open only after we moved away:

Yep, they’re pretty insistent about the local provenance of their goods. Kinda made me think of this. It’s local.

Next, there’s the witty, pop-culture-referential advertising for the Puget Sound Trip Planner App:

Bad photo. It says, at the bottom, “Wherever you go, there we are.” I cannot resist a Buckaroo Banzai reference.

Finally, not even in Seattle but just because, here I manage to hit two of my main sweet spots, Francophilia and grammar/spelling errors:

WTF, people, fromage is masculine. So just because you want to be even cutesier, even Frenchier, that doesn’t mean that you make petit into petite. THAT’S NOT HOW IT WORKS! (This is a line we’re going to be repeating a lot these days, I fear.)

Anyway, happy New Year from the blog! This year in Barcelona, for all you INTA folks!

Destination: Paris, stairwell edition

The stairwell of the apartment we rented in Paris held this trademark gem:

13510459_10209423753172022_1902973996_n

You would think this would be a shining example of a brand that’s absolutely incapable of crossing the Atlantic thanks to its English meaning. (I’m not sure if its significance is the same to British English speakers; if it is, the poor mark shouldn’t even be able to cross the Channel!) However, the mark has been registered here in the US, and Puky products are apparently available for sale here in the US. I just can’t imagine how successful a product bearing that name could be. Then again, Acne Jeans are so hot these days …

 

Bang the head slowly

 

 

 

 

Bellapierre

 

This item was in my daughter’s Ipsy bag this month. Where do I begin?

Okay, we have “bella,” which is Italian for beautiful, mashed together with “pierre,” which is French for stone. Except “bella” bears an extraneous and incomprehensible accent mark; the combination sort of means “beautiful stone” (and it’s sheer coincidence that I photographed it on my granite countertop). I know I am meant to ignorantly assume that the accent mark imparts a certain quelle-heure-est-il cachet to the product but alas, I cannot. Rather, I am stuck repeating two of my constant refrains when it comes to trademarks: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means” – and “I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it.

My daughter says the the liner is highly pigmented and is looking forward to using it and was happy to relinquish the packaging to her obsessive mother.

Insult to injury to even more injury

It’s bad enough that the Teen Spirit brand tarnishes Kurt Cobain’s memory. But this is even worse:

cute n girlie

CUTE & GIRLIE? WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK? IT’S 2015 – AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO NOTICED? If you’re old enough to use antiperspirant, you’re old enough to be totally mortified if your mom buys you “cute & girlie [sic]” antiperspirant.

And for the final injury, it should be “girly” the adjective, and not “girlie” the diminutive noun.

Feh

I can’t decide what bothers me more about this product name:

woats

Is it (a) that the mark consists merely of the product’s main ingredient, with an additional letter slapped onto it? Or (b) that said mark rhymes with “goats”? Or (c) that when you try to pronounce it your mouth contorts uncomfortably and you’re not sure anyone can understand you? [Try it. I’ll wait. “Want some Woats?” See?] Or (d) that it reminds me of the egregious and (for me, at least) hackle-raising misspelling of “whoa” as “woah”?

I’m afraid it’s (e) All of the above, which is unfortunate, since the founder of the company has some very laudable goals for giving back to the community.

 

Check that spelling

More TJ Maxx antics:

provance

Just decide on one and stick with it. But I’ll give you a hint – it’s Provence! (Also, this chateau appears not to exist at all. Tant pis.) This wooden tray was tempting, and you know I love a good typo, but helas, this was not marked down enough.

Destination: CDG

Yes, though it’s been a month since we got back from Paris, it’s taken me time to get to my magazines. So here’s Exhibit A – a brand name I kind of like:

Hipanema

… even though my iPad keeps wanting to change it to Hip Anemia.

I went back to Ohio

We took our eldest off to Kenyon College this past weekend. Alma mater of such luminaries as Paul Newman, E.L. Doctorow, Laura Hillenbrand, and last night’s Emmy Award winner Alison Janney, it’s a gorgeous campus on a hill in central Ohio – as picturesque an educational environment as you’re likely to find anywhere.

Kenyon’s address is Gambier, Ohio, but Gambier is really inside Kenyon – it’s just that tiny. And because it’s so tiny, commerce there is limited. How limited?

Peoples Bank

There’s just one bank, and it can’t even afford an apostrophe.

 

A gentle reminder

I can’t tell you how many times in my career (now over 24 years in this trademark biz!) I’ve been asked “but what if we change the spelling?” You mean from candy to “kandy”? From cheese to “cheeze”? Or this:

music skool

The answer, I’m afraid, is still no. It’s neither protectable nor distinctive. You’re fooling no one.

And that, my friends, is my rant du jour.

Two for the price of one?

I’ll bet that the graphic artist who designed this logo thought it was a brilliant idea to combine the dot on the “i” and the apostrophe here. Unfortunately, my eye thinks otherwise.

Remember, your URL doesn’t contain punctuation! Maybe make it Jenni with two Ns?

September Birchbox – Streamlined

This Birchbox biz has been going on for some time. So to keep things more lively, I’m only going to focus on brands that are new to me.

Let’s start September’s with a marketing doozy:


I have, in the past, raged against pointless misspellings. So the extra “n” in the recognizable name “Racine” was strike one for me. Strike two? Package copy that reads “Powerful anit-aging [sic] agent.” Strike three? The “About” page that reads “At it’s [sic] roots, Racinne, a Canadian Beauty Company.” A strikeout, with bonus points for unnecessary capitalization!

Next, Airelle:

Here we have the doctrine of foreign equivalents at work. Airelle is French for “blueberry.” When the product contains blueberry extract, airelle is merely descriptive of the goods. And in this case, at least as of my publication date, the PTO has correctly applied the doctrine to refuse registration of a foreign term that is merely descirptive of these goods. Airelle had better luck with Berrimatrix, the other mark on the package, and got that mark registered.

Here’s a mark I just love:

That’s Ruffian, if you can’t see it. Love the name, love the color.

Finally, here’s a product whose marketers appear to have given up on the naming process:

Even the Birchbox insert is stumped; they call the product “This Is a Sea Salt Spray.” It’s marketed by the Davines Group of Parma, Italy. You see the legend “More Inside” on the bottle? Well, it appears that’s the product line name, so other products in the line bear monikers of, for example, “This Is a Volume Boosting Mousse,” “This Is a Medium Hold Modeling Gel,” and the finalist in the Gertrude Stein competition, “This Is an Oil Non Oil.”

The Davines website clearly outlines their focus on sustainable beauty, which is laudable. More head-scratching than laudable, however, is the inclusion of Ayn Rand in their sidebar of “Things That Inspire.” Also head-scratching is their claim to have created the “Davines” name from the names of their children, Davide and Stefania. I can’t quite make that add up, certainly not in any way that gives poor Stefania equal time!

In any event, Daughter #2 advises me that salt spray is great for curly hair and is pleased to take this off my hands.

June Birchbox

Thanks once again to Birchbox, I’ve got something to blog about. This month there are a couple of marks that rankle.


First, we have Mirenesse:



Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE lip pencils, and expect a cage match over this one with my daughter. However, the name troubles me because it looks like a line extension of Mirena, the intrauterine birth control device. I know they’re not related goods, and I see no likelihood of confusion whatsoever. I just know that with my fertile (heh) mind, I see Mirenesse and think of Mirena.

But this one really irks me:



That’s right, it’s “100% Pure.” Where on earth do I begin with this? Let’s start: If the product is indeed, 100% pure, whatever that means, then 100% PURE is descriptive and therefore unprotectable as a trademark. It is also therefore a lousy trademark, because you cannot prevent competitors who have products that are equally 100% pure from asserting that same fact.

And yet this raises another question, one for the false advertising attorneys among us: What does 100% pure mean? For that matter, what do “100% natural” and “100% vegan” mean? Does the latter mean I can eat this? It’s vanilla bean and coconut, after all. This company alleges that its products contain no toxins, but the lengthy list of floral, fruit, and nut extracts contained in the creams, for example, could be highly allergenic, if not toxic, to one sensitive to those ingredients. I once used a cocoa butter skin oil that contained the admittedly all-natural Brazil nut oil – and broke out in a ferocious rash, natural or not.

So enough of that. Let’s move on to the less inflammatory items. Here we have Suki:



It’s “exfoliate foaming cleanser,” and shouldn’t that be “exfoliant”? Seems that way to me.

Next, another Color Club nail polish:



Cute color, but I don’t do matte. And this makes THREE of these!

Finally, a well-established brand:



Dry shampoo (or shampooing sec, en francais) is something I tend not to bother with because I have such short hair that it takes no more than an extra minute to wash it in the shower. I guess it’d be good for overnight travel … but maybe I’ll just give it to the kids.

That’s all for this month’s haul!

MPH matters

When you’re speeding down I-70 to get home from skiing, your eye doesn’t always catch nuances in spelling and punctuation.

Try this one at speed:
[something unintelligible having to do with snot …] OH! They mean “snow tire headquarters” – I get it now! No, I really don’t get it, because all I can think about is that the sign says “snot.” It’s a lot easier to see “snot” at high speed than it is to see the advertiser’s name. 
I think it’s fair to say that there should be an advertising bright line rule prohibiting the use of “sno” + “t-” formations … because some of us are still twelve at heart!